How Do I Stay Well When He’s Causing Harm?

I watched a movie this weekend that was so powerful I watched it again the next day to take notes. It’s called Women Talking. It’s based on a book by the same title by Miriam Toews, a true story about a community of Mennonite women and children who were sexually abused over a period of years. Their male leaders told them it didn’t happen. It was in their imagination. Some of these girls and women were injured or turned up pregnant. Then the narrative changed. The perpetrators were now labeled ghosts and demons. Until one of the child victims saw her abuser, a member of their clan. He named others.

Hundreds of women and girls were victims. Their story is told in this movie – but the story does not focus on the horrors of their abuse, as horrific as it was. Rather, it’s about their conversation regarding what to do about it. Should they stay and do nothing? Should they stay and fight? Should they all leave the community? 

What I loved about this movie was watching the conversation among these women unfold. How did they process their different perspectives? Their values? Their faith? Their emotions? How did they affirm and support one another even when they disagreed and wanted different outcomes? As you watch it, notice how the conversation begins to shift from what they didn’t want – they didn’t want any more abuse, they didn’t want to be gaslit, or told it wasn’t true, to asking themselves what they did want. Safety. Freedom. Access to education. An equal voice in decision-making in their community. To think for themselves. 

Pay attention to how they wrestled with their Christian faith and their most precious values to make one of the most important decisions in their lives. And how the wisdom of the group, led to that decision together. 

After you watch it, I would love to have a conversation about your takeaways in our blog comments. We can learn from one another just like these women did if we’re open to having curious and respectful conversations about what matters most. 

Today’s Question: I've been reading through your book, The Emotionally Destructive Marriage. Last night I read through chapter 11, “When there is no obvious change.” My question is regarding the section on Staying Well. What if I've done all those things over a long period of time that you mention is necessary to stay well, following the example of Abigail, and my husband is making it impossible to stay peaceful by constantly threatening me and giving punishments for standing up for myself all while living with joy and not expecting anything from him. 

He often brings up that “God hates divorce” and tells me how sinful I am to think about separation, but he is purposefully making it miserable to stay. I know he is unhappy that I have chosen to stop emotionally investing in a relationship that is so broken, grieved my loss, and moved on to the parts of my life that I can be responsible for my own attitudes and actions. I was wondering if you had a resource that specifically addresses this question of how to stay well when your husband constantly inflicts harm. At this point, I do not want to leave and create a broken home environment for my remaining children at home, but it almost seems impossible to stay under these conditions.

Answer: First, kudos to you for doing your own work. To steward your life, taking responsibility for your own actions and attitudes and detaching from feeling responsible to change or fix him.

At this point in time, you may have to make a different choice. It may not be possible to stay well. God calls us where possible to live in peace. (Hebrews 12:14). Paul tells us as much as it depends on us, be at peace with people. (Romans 12:18). Why is this important? Because constant turmoil, uncertainty, bullying, and conflict with someone who is close in our life impacts our bodies, spirits, and souls. It has long-term negative consequences. The book of Proverbs repeatedly warns us of this.

Personally, I don’t believe it’s possible to stay well when someone continues to inflict harm on you. It’s commendable that you’d like to give your remaining children the stability of their home environment. You don’t want them to experience a broken home. But reality says they are already living in a broken home. They are not blind to what’s going on. You didn’t mention your husband’s relationship with his children but don’t minimize the impact of his control, criticism, and contempt towards you on them. Your children are negatively impacted by what’s going on at home. Have you talked with them about this?

As Christians, we have been taught that divorce is the worst possible outcome. But is that true? Does God hate all divorce? Actually, that verse in Malachi doesn’t translate God hates divorce. It says God hates when a man divorces his wife and treats her treacherously. That’s a very different kind of hate. It was only when the King James Bible was printed, did the Malachi passage read “God hates divorce.” Yet we know that in the OT that God allowed divorce as an option when all other options for a safe home environment were exhausted. Jesus said, “Because of the hardness of people’s hearts God permitted divorce”. (Matthew 19:8). I believe the worst possible outcome is for your children to think what’s happening is a normal, acceptable way for a husband to treat his wife. For their health to be impacted by the stress. For your health to be compromised by the stress of living in constant criticism and contempt.

Your children need at least one healthy parent. Again, good for you for doing your work to get as healthy as you can. But healthy people do not sacrifice the best of who they are to enable the worst in someone else to continue to cause harm. This is not a noble sacrifice, nor one that God asks us to make just to stay legally married. 

I don’t know enough details of your current health status or your children’s well-being, but I would pay attention and ask questions. I remember talking with a mom of 5 who was trying her best to stay well. Her husband hadn’t changed and the pressure on her was great. She thought her kids were better off staying in the home, but their annual school physical said differently. All five of her children from 6 years old to 16 years old had high blood pressure. That jolted her awake and she decided it was time to leave. 

Thank you for inviting a collective conversation around this topic. How long do you stay especially when your husband is escalating his verbal aggression towards you? Perhaps one more question to ask yourself is there any good coming from your sacrifice to stay? Any good for you? Any good for your kids? Any good for your spouse? Or is it only enabling the destruction to grow?

Friend, please join us in a conversation about her question, Can She Continue to Stay Well? And, if you watched the movie, Women Talking, what was your biggest “ah ha” moment or takeaway from the film?


  1. Caroline Abbott on July 26, 2023 at 10:12 am

    I don’t believe divorce is the worst possible option. For me, it was hell to come to the realization I had to leave, and it was hell to go thru an ugly divorce. But, God used my pain to help many others. My life now is joyful beyond what I ever could have imagined. I am glad I took the leap.

    • Jen on July 28, 2023 at 6:10 am

      Thank you so much for sharing this. I just filed yesterday d it’s excruciating. I need the hope that it WILL get bette and that there’s more joy waiting for me!

  2. Laurie on July 27, 2023 at 8:26 am

    This is such an important conversation! The church does NOT handle this topic well (in general), so thank you for this. One point I would add, though, that’s vital to consider is the current state of the Family Court system, which is so terribly broken. Women need to be prepared. The Family Court system does NOT consider the children’s best interests and regularly forces children into the arms of an abusive father over a protective mother. Just be aware before you leave and make sure to plan accordingly. If there’s ANY way to come to an agreement without getting in front of an FC judge, DO It!

  3. Shannon on July 27, 2023 at 8:34 am

    My heart aches for the woman behind the question and all who’ve found themselves at that painful crossroads. Simply put to have to relinquish the marriage for the sake of the emotional and physical good of yourself. It is, I believe, the harder path forward – divorce hardly means all will be easier and instantly better – but it is the only path to take if one is to start walking in truth and slow healing. Asking God now to multiply healing to everyone of us on this journey. May God give you the best gift of a woman who is ahead of you on the journey who has put her trust in God. This friendship, I have found, is one of his best and most gentle tools on the path out. xo

  4. Heidi M on July 27, 2023 at 8:35 am

    Please correct your quoting of Matthew 19:8
    The verse does not say , God permitted divorce but reads Moses permitted divorce.

    • Ellen Capozzi on July 28, 2023 at 9:32 am

      My understanding is that Moses represents God’s law.

    • Sharon on July 28, 2023 at 10:07 am

      Good call on that! That one detail makes a massive difference in the reading of that verse!

      • Leslie Vernick on July 28, 2023 at 11:26 am

        Sharon, how does it change your reading of that verse? If Moses said it, and Jesus didn’t contradict it as “wrong” how does it change you’re reading of the verse. Don’t you think if Moses was incorrect or in error, that would have been a perfect time for Jesus to say it? Jesus too knew that men’s hearts were hard, and Moses was representing God’s law and God’s heart to the people. Moses was the one God spoke to and with.

  5. Laurie Hart on July 27, 2023 at 8:37 am

    I feel compelled to reply to this woman’s plight. I so relate to wanting to hold the family together and being controlled by words of condemnation, for even thinking of breaking up the family. I was there I stayed I, like you got help from every resource, I could think and continue to grow in my walk with the Lord and emotional health Counseling and support groups and great church family all their lives, and tried to model emotional sobriety to my children. I did not have the courage to leave. I thought I could not support myself and the children. My children are adults now 41,40 and 38. My daughter (twice divorced) learned to be attracted to destructive men. My son learned that throwing up would help him feel in control, my other son (one divorce) has yet to find his place in the world with a steady job or a committed faith. Leslie is right, your home is broken and you didn’t break it, he did!! Keep seeking God’s direction and all the resources Leslie offers, I wish I had it way back then. I finally had the courage to get away from my husband after 42 years and I am still recovering but have more peace than I ever dreamed possible. Thanks to God and Leslie

    • christi on July 28, 2023 at 12:03 pm

      I am in the same situation and thought by staying it would help my children –
      Very rarely does that happen –
      They learn how to attract negative people and it tremendously affects their self esteem.
      Seek wise counsel before continuing to stay in this abusive situation – it does have long term consequences- not just for you but your children and their children as well

    • Anita Pollard on July 29, 2023 at 4:33 pm

      I am 42 years married and know I need to leave. I am scared and so torn. My faith is strong but i am falling apart. I am getting coaching from Elise berryhill. I can’t believe I have stayed in this 42 years. Now that I see the nightmare I am living in and not just denying it, it is so painful.

      • Leslie Vernick on July 29, 2023 at 5:38 pm

        To Anita, yes sometimes the truth is very painful, but we can’t change something we refuse to see and acknowledge. Now that you’ve acknowledged it take one step at a time forward towards health and healing, at least for you.

  6. Stephanie L on July 27, 2023 at 8:40 am

    I’m in quite a similar place, even having attended marital counseling for six months (despite already knowing it would prove fruitless, but in order to have my husband actually seen and observed by a mental health professional, I went).

    Key principles for survival:

    -mindset shift: doing your own work will produce this. You are not a homewrecker for leaving, you are saving yourself and your children and salvaging your future in hopes of allowing God to maximize your potential outside of your current abusive conditions.
    – detachment level as close to 100% as possible
    – physical absence from each other as often as feasible (we live under the same 1200 sq. ft. roof!) and especially whenever there is any escalation (I’ll walk out the door and return when issue has diffused)
    – ongoing self-care, via support groups and health care providers
    – openness and honesty with children, discussions with older children
    – securing employment so that independently-earned wages begin (I have only worked part-time for twenty years)
    – consultations with Divorce Counselors, CDFPs, lawyers so that when the time is right, the process can begin without urgency (assuming no immediate danger)

    God bless you on your journey!

    • Margery on August 29, 2023 at 3:12 pm

      I’m reading the book and I watched the movie”Women Talking”, not once but three times. Each time I viewed it I gleaned more and more of its deeper meaning. Each of us as we traverse the abyss of confusion that abuse creates desperately need the love and support of a living God that shows Himself to us in the care and concern of our sisters in Christ.

  7. Robin Downs on July 27, 2023 at 8:51 am

    Thanks for your thoughtful comment on the movie women talking. I was not aware that it was based on a true story. When I watched it a couple of months ago, I also found it very compelling. It seemed to describe very well. What many modern women are experiencing in their own homes. The decision to stay or leave. It’s not simple and needs a thorough understanding of the losses in gains on either side. The movie highlighted the need for great understanding for those who are supporting victims of abuse. May our congregations be more and more aware of just how difficult it can be to navigate these decisions. Right now I am in the midst of writing a dissertation proposal to do research on how congregations and faith communities can offer, religious and spiritual support to abuse victims in their marriages. I am hoping it is approved soon and can begin to interview IVP victims.

  8. Michelle on July 27, 2023 at 9:16 am

    It took me a long time to realize that I was enabling my husbands bad behavior, even though he was solely responsible for his choices. We’ve been separated for a year (after 20 together) and are almost fully divorced. I had not realized the extent that my daughter had absorbed by being in the same tense environment as well as watching me make do with what I had in a relationship. The week after he left she mentioned how peaceful the house was. Although she absolutely loves her father and I do believe he loves me, the choices we make in showing that love to others speaks louder then any marital legality or semblance of a family unit. Knowing she might think that a relationship like mine was normal was the absolute tipping point for me. I know how desperate I had become in the relationship and I couldn’t bear one minute thinking that she would or could put herself in the same situation as me. I don’t know why it took me 20 years to awaken to what I was in but God did. He knew everything I needed to have those tough conversations and make life changing decisions- and He stood with me in what felt like an all consuming fire of loss. I am choosing to believe He will redeem any lost time and that everything I’ve learned in that season of marriage will be put to good use. I already feel free and able to be my own person again, and many childhood dreams are resurfacing, which is a gift. My only real regret is that I didn’t choose “me” and my daughter sooner. Praying for you sister!

    • Sydne on July 27, 2023 at 10:13 am

      Reading these comments helps me to understand so much more of the truth of what has been happening to me. My situation is so similar and the lies of sacrificing myself for the good of there not being divorce, for the good of the children, trying not to be a poor spectacle in eyes of the church and my husband, etc. has tried to overwhelm me and delay me from moving forward with my life. I am learning and hearing so much better now, and it seems that for me, God gets my attention the most when I finally can see, after almost 15 years, how it is affecting the children. Some have been gradually turned away from me, as my husband has degraded me in front of them. Now they do not listen to my instructions very well, “We have to check with daddy first.” After the shock of having to file a domestic violence report, as I was doing some research, my understanding is that this emotional abuse and how it damages the relationship with their parent , is within the definition of domestic violence, inclusive of constant criticism and undermining an individual’s sense of self-worth and/or self-esteem I have finally woken up to the understanding that God does not like this for me, or my children, and if I continue to enable my husband to do this, I am too participating in his sin against God.

  9. WarriorWoman on July 27, 2023 at 9:40 am

    I recently started working for a ministry(part of my restabilization plan). When they got word on my decision to divorce my husband they needed to confirm if I had biblical grounds for divorce if it wasn’t for sexual immorality. After sharing more detail about what I was dealing with, the leadership provided me with a few resources to help determine whether or not I did have biblical grounds and offered to pay for counseling for me during this time. Part of my resources was all that I learned from Conquer. It helped me to put what I was dealing with in biblical context and the biggest takeaway was that God loves me as his daughter first and foremost and has made me responsible for four of His children. Because of this teaching and what Leslie shared, I could stand flat-footed in my decision and have scripture to back it up. My husband has shared his year-long “end-of-marriage” plan. Something I am not in agreement with. It’s one thing when you are in limbo about the decision. But once you’ve reached a point where you are clear about what is needed and necessary for your own healing and the emotional safety of your children, it becomes easier to stand on your decision. My husband is worried about his finances. I am worried about the emotional health and welfare of me and the kids. Those are very different.

    I say all that to say, be honest with where you are and what you are experiencing. Learn the truth about emotional abuse from a biblical perspective. And get to a place where you can stand flat-footed on your decision and truly believe in God’s best for you and your children. Accept that the transition period will come with some challenges, but it’s better than the alternative.

  10. Betty Francis on July 27, 2023 at 9:46 am

    Put your children FIRST.

    Them hearing nasty remarks from their father “imbeds” it in their mind. We all look back on childhood with fond remembrances. They will look back on the way their father behaved as normal and they will likely reflect it with their future families. By staying, you are telling them it is normal and okay.

    We “adjust” to verbal abuse. A remark that would send me to outer space probably seems like nothing to you by now.
    When you look at it from the outside, it is so clear that your absolute top priority is to PROTECT your children from hearing verbal abuse. It WILL affect them. It WILL affect you. You are human. Not steel. They need you to take action… FOR them!

    I am so hurt that my mother stayed and allowed me to experience a life of abuse that I have to look back on. I have bad dreams about my father every single night!

    In reality, his verbal abuse was mild. YET IT AFFECTED MY ENTIRE LIFE. Boyfriends I chose. How I felt about myself.

    Get out. Put the kids first. Do whatever it takes. Do it while YOU still recognize right from wrong, because it WILL change you. It already has and you don’t even realize it.

    Emotional and verbal abuse … creates emotionally disturbed women. We become as sick as our abusers. We can’t see it! We refuse to see it! But an outsider CAN. Clearly, you need to get away from him, for the children’s emotional health. They have futures that deserve your protection.

  11. Mary on July 27, 2023 at 10:22 am

    So true, the church totally misuses the verse that God hates divorce and I never thought my church would beat me over the head with it when I knew I needed to separate but was afraid to. A close pastor friend told my husband I was unbiblical for setting boundaries against intimacy. I was dying inside. He said saying “heart change” to my husband was “putting a pastor on his back.” Since I have learned to stand up for myself thanks to Leslie and her coaches, set boundaries and not allow myself to be deformed by my husband’s emotional abuse any longer. However, after 35 destructive years, I should have separated in the first year but believed God would hate me and so would everyone else. Just not true. My children are adults and I can see the effects. It’s my biggest regret in life even still after my husband has begun to do his own work, maybe things would have been vastly different had I imposed separation decades ago.

  12. Joey on July 27, 2023 at 10:56 am

    “Women Talking” was both revealing and comforting. It sounds strange but as I sat by myself in the theater (I wanted to see it alone so I wouldn’t have to hide my emotions) there were many triggers for me but it was also healing. These women started out as I did; questioning my reality, depending on leaders in the church, confused about the misuse of scripture, and fearing God’s judgement if I left.
    The gift of this story is that these women, by sharing stories of their abuse, reasoned their way to the truth of God’s love. They held fast to the scripture and the hymns that they sang before leaving. They left the abuse confident that God was going with them and would provide for them. They left knowing God’s love in a way that wasn’t possible while living under the tyranny of a system that used scripture to control and abuse.

    • Leslie Vernick on July 27, 2023 at 12:14 pm

      Appreciate you sharing. I felt uplifted by watching their vulnerability, their honesty, their authenticity, and resourcefulness coupled with their strong faith in God as they broke free from the oppressive system of believing that they needed a man to give them permission to decide.

    • Moon Beam on August 1, 2023 at 7:02 pm

      The movie was far too triggering for me. I am glad it was produced, but I couldn’t watch it.

  13. Kerri Keller on July 27, 2023 at 11:13 am

    I’ve been married almost 25 years to a man who has many narcissistic traits and is abusive in different ways. I’m seeing some of those traits in my kids (21,17 and 12) and I am heartbroken. I’m confused about what I should say or not say to my kids regarding their dad. I feel like when I try to talk about anything that has to do with his behaviors, they get upset with me. I want to continue telling them that his actions and behaviors are not in line with Gods design of a marriage, but I’m scared to do that for many reasons. One is because when I confront him on his behavior, he always turns it back on me and blames me and I get upset and emotional. Sometimes I raise my voice in anger while he remains calm and I look like the crazy one to my kids. I’m in counseling trying to work on that, but in the meantime, how do I point out my husband’s destructive behavior to my kids, when they think I’m the crazy one for getting upset?

    • JoAnn on July 27, 2023 at 3:51 pm

      Kerri, I wonder if it would help to ask the children how do they feel inside when they see Dad acting this way? Helping them to identify their feelings can build empathy from which they can learn that it is hurtful to behave that way. They can also be helped to see that you are reacting the way you do because his words hurt so much. Their dad is teaching them to override their conscience by making excuses and excusing your behavior as crazy. It’s never okay to hurt another person purposefully.

    • Lisa on July 28, 2023 at 10:19 pm

      I’m glad you are in counseling. That has helped me tremendously. My husband has narcissistic tendencies and we have 3 children. We are separated, but living in the same house. I have chosen to stay well for now. I might change my mind in the future, but I doubt I will file for divorce until my youngest is 18.
      I have done a lot of work on myself and have learned a lot about narcissistic tactics. I have come to the point where I am able to observe and not absorb. Instead of becoming frustrated, I say to myself “he’s trying to bait me”. Instead of questioning reality, I say to myself “he’s trying to gaslight me “. It is very freeing! I know that he is not going to change and I know now that it isn’t really about me at all, so I no longer feel the need to justify, argue, defend, or engage with him.
      I put my energy into people and things that nurture me. I have a great support system. As I have gotten healthier, I can see my children getting healthier. I never thought that would happen! One of the biggest lies I believed was that things were always going to stay the same. All it has taken is for me to do my own work.
      Carry on, sister! You are not alone! God will show you what your next right step is, and that’s all you need to see, by the way, is the next single step.❤️

    • Moon Beam on August 1, 2023 at 7:04 pm

      Tell them the truth. Get a diagnosis and disclose everything. Get the kids in counseling and leave their father ASAP.

  14. Amy Joy on July 27, 2023 at 7:14 pm

    I watched Women Talking and a few years back that movie would have been horrifying for my “purity “ of sorts. I say that because I’m so many ways I have changed. I may not smoke but deal with my rage over what my now ex did to me through cursing and my one daughter is doubting my walk with God because I curse. I taught her that. I now know that everyone of us women who have been abused process that abuse in different ways and their faith need not be questioned. As the movie displayed some smoke, some are enraged, some quietly cry, some become lesbians or mute, panic attacks horrible dreams etc. I was so proud trying to be perfect raising my children to be perfect never raising my voice, never saying a curse word because my faith never allowed such things and if I was going to become a good woman I needed to cross my Ts and dot my I’s. I was always either too much or not enough. While teaching and training my children I was being gaslit, confused, abused without a clue. I thought that the fault was completely mine deceived like these women, so. I thought that the only two forms of abuse were physical as in hitting and sexual. As in coming into a woman by force. I am now aware that I was sexually abused by coercion with twisting of scriptures. I was a good wife by never saying no, my body knew it was not right but I ignored my body’s attempts to tell me. I also was physically abused by being blocked against my will, held down on a bed. Spoken to in a way that I could not leave.. As a matter of fact the only thing he never did was physically hit me. Because I left I “broke the marriage covenant “.I am now the evil one who cannot be trusted. It is so hard and I got a lot out of the movie but this is for me struck hard.

    • Leslie Vernick on July 27, 2023 at 7:28 pm

      Thanks for sharing Amy, and I’m sure you are not alone in your desire to be the “perfect Christian woman”. It’s so sad how we have been taught that it’s not okay to have our anger. Yet, we SHOULD be angry at what happens to us and other women like us. We aren’t too much for asking to be treated as co-image bearers. To be treated with decency, respect, and care and not as objects to use, but persons to love. And once we start to wake up and say no more to the way it is, we are the ones who broke the covenant. We are the one sinning because we will no longer be compliant with our own demise. We will no longer believe or submit to a pastor, a husband, a counselor or religious system that gaslights what is happening and/or excuses abuse under the label of headship. Or an honorable sacrifice to keep the marriage together at all costs, any price. Amy – you are not too much. And you are enough. Here are some words that I say to myself after taking a deep breath when I’m feeling confused, or anxious: I am enough. I have enough. There is enough. It’s a very calming phrase that helps me get grounded in God’s care for me.

  15. Maria on July 27, 2023 at 11:04 pm

    So, her husband states, “God hates divorce”, but doesn’t consider all of the negative, persistent, destructive behaviors that are driving the marriage to this demise? That just shows a lack of self-awareness on his part. and his intent to guilt the spouse into continuing to tolerate the situation and manipulate her based on her understanding/belief that it would be disobedient to divorce a manipulator/abuser.

    The following was posted on FB by Patrick Weaver Ministries

    ” When God is ready for you to move, He will make your situation uncomfortable. The longer you stay, the more unbearable it will become…until you just can’t take it anymore.”

    • Ellen Capozzi on July 28, 2023 at 7:55 pm

      I watched Women Talking this afternoon, and stopped it at times to write down some lines from the movie. It was so very thought-provoking.

      “How would you feel if in your entire life it never mattered what you thought?”

      “When we’ve liberated ourselves we’ll have to ask ourselves who we are.”

      “My mother questioned things…not God…power…the rules made in the name of God…and she encouraged others to question things too.”

      “We have decided that we want, that we are entitled to 3 things: we want our children to be safe, we want to be steadfast in our faith, and we want to think. “

      I will definitely watch it again. Thanks so much for recommending it, Leslie.

      • Leslie Vernick on July 28, 2023 at 8:37 pm


        So glad you watched it. It was very thought provoking. I believe that many “church” women today have experienced that it never mattered what they thought, nor do they truly know who they are outside of their roles – wife, mom, good Christian church lady. The big question is: what do you want? Great question to ask ourselves, our daughters and even our sons and husbands, not just what you don’t want. The women in this movie felt entitled to 3 things, but actually they wanted more. They wanted equality. They wanted to be educated, and to be treated like partners and not just handmaidens and worker-bees. There is a lot to chew on listening to their conversation.

        • Ellen Capozzi on July 28, 2023 at 9:05 pm

          That was a question I couldn’t answer (what do I want) after my marriage of 40 years ended , when my husband died 9 years ago. It’s been a journey, starting with the Conquer group. I think I was part of your first group, if I am not mistaken. I joined other groups after that. I joined, CORE 2 years ago. I have to tell you, 6 of us from that group have been talking on zoom once a week since then. The movie brought that out too, how important community is to our healing.

  16. Yewande on July 31, 2023 at 7:42 pm

    I am in a similar boat but I liken my marriage situation to death by a thousand paper cuts. Daily slights that indiviudally may not mean much, but together consitute a pattern of disrespect and abuse. Like arriving one a half hours late to our kids’ first experience at the theatre because he went to buy some barbecued chicken that he just had to have. Or picking up my son late from practice on a consistent basis until he is at risk of losing his place on his sports team. Do you divorce a person for being chronically late? Brwosing for music and texting on his phone while driving the family at 100 km per hour? Waking you up at odd hours because he wants to have sex? These are things that should be easily correctible but we’re twenty years in and still fighting the same battles as when we first got married. I know the kids are affected but would they be better off if I left or if I stayed? I keep waiting for that major infraction so that I can feel justified in leaving. I pray I don’t wait till it’s too late.

  17. Ruth on January 20, 2024 at 11:39 pm

    I’ve been married 20 years and although there is no physical abuse or drinking or infidelities, I realize my husband has been emotionally & verbally abusive. He believes I’m the sole reason we have problems in our marriage and although I’ve addressed to him on multiple occasions how his behavior, manipulation , bullying, criticism & words hurt me, he refuses to repent or change and he has no self-awareness (or lives in denial). I don’t see how there can be any improvement without repentance. Yet, I, like many of you, have decided to stay well. While it’s very discouraging to have an unfulfilling marriage, I have grieved & accepted my unsatisfying marriage, & I have tried to find fulfillment in other areas of my life and to still do my best in my marriage for the Lord’s
    sake. So far, this is manageable (going on 3 years like this), but if it became toxic or unbearably harmful, I pray I have the strength to follow God’s guidance.

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Morning friends, How are you holding up? Share some things with our blog community on what you are learning, and how you are using your time now. I’ve been reading more, practicing my art, and taking long walks every morning with Addie (my dog). We’re up to five miles now and I hope we can…


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Morning friend, I am on a cruise in Alaska speaking for the American Association of Christian Counselors. This Arizona girl hates the cold, but this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity so I bought some of those little foot and hand warmer packets and I will activate them to keep warm. I’ll send a picture for next…